Go to Greece: 5 Tips to Enjoy Santorini With Little Kids

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

While it may come to mind as a traditional honeymoon destination, days spent perched on the caldera of Santorini can be just as magical with a baby or toddler in tow. We had been warned repeatedly not to visit with little kids because of the endless stairs, cliff edges and rocky beaches. While some say it is too busy and you should skip it in favor of other islands, we went with our baby and loved (almost) everything about it.

(Photo by @flytographer)

If heading to Greece is on your family’s bucket list, here are our tips for enjoying Santorini with a baby or toddler along for the ride.

(Photo by @flytographer)

1. Be Prepared to Babywear

You can use your stroller in parts of the towns of Fira and Oia, but overall there are a lot of stairs and someone needs to be prepared to babywear. My husband did the bulk of the work with the baby strapped to his front, but we did occasionally trade-off. A boat trip and a day with a car broke up the babywearing duties.

We did also keep our folding stroller with us at restaurants if we thought we could get him to snooze while we ate our moussaka. (Here are some of TPG‘s favorite travel strollers.) To save on our backs, we didn’t cover a lot of ground. The beauty of Santorini is in the view. My son loved climbing up and down the white stone steps, but of course use caution as they are far from carpeted.

2. Rent a Car for a Day

We rented a car, with a car seat, from our hotel for one day to explore the island, seeing the Akrotiri lighthouse, Red Sand Beach and stopping for lunch near Black Sand Beach. Our son fell asleep in the car, so my husband stayed with him while I did a hike around the lighthouse.

While you see others zooming around the island on their ATVs, it’s nice to have a car and car seat for your little one. We were not asked for an international driver’s license when driving in Greece, but it’s a requirement when renting a car and worth checking into beforehand.

The taxis are shared, so it can be a bit off-putting when another couple (likely honeymooners) are shoved into your taxi next to you. We took one from the airport to the hotel and then not again. The public bus is a great option and even has air conditioning and cushioned seats.

3. Where to Stay in Santorini With Kids

A key to the success of our Santorini stay was staying at a hotel with amazing sunset views and a room with a balcony. We could put our son to sleep each night and step outside with the door open to share a drink while watching the sunset over the caldera. In the morning, we had breakfast with the cheery waitstaff that cuddled our son and regaled us with stories of the island.

When we first looked at hotels, we came across a few that did not allow children. Luckily we found the family-friendly Volcano View Hotel for $360 per night and booked through Hotels.com/Venture using my Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card for 10x the miles. (Offer ends Jan. 31, 2020) The stay also counted toward earning the 10th night free in the Hotels.com program, effectively a 20% return.

Renting an Airbnb with a view could achieve the same magic sunset watching/sleeping baby combo. And don’t forget to pay with a card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, that will earn you bonus points on travel.

For my next return to the island, I would like to visit the two Marriott properties: Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel, at which every room has a balcony (Category 7, 60k Marriott points) or Vedeema, a quieter property on the other end of the island (Category 7, Marriott 60k points). However, I won’t be staying at the Mystique with my toddlers anytime soon as that property is restricted to those 13+ years old. The Vedeema is open to younger kids. 

Image courtesy of Vedeema

If you need more Marriott points to make your Greek dreams come true, American Express just relaunched several Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit cards. Find out which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you.

4. Get Out on the Water

The volcanic nature of Santorini means that all the beaches are made of colored stone pebbles that give the beaches their names (Black, Red, etc.), rather than soft white sand found on other islands. While it is one of the only places in the world to see the different colored sands on the same island, we spent about three minutes on the rough Red Beach and soon followed the advice that the best way to see Santorini was from the water.

We booked with Caldera Yachting on a “semi-private” cruise with all honeymooners who were extremely welcoming of our baby. Also, the boat had a bedroom, so the baby took a nap down there with my husband out of the sun. When anchored, my husband and I took turns jumping off the boat while the other held the baby and ate a delicious lunch.

The yacht was even breastfeeding-friendly.

We paid $160 each for the half-day cruise, including lunch, local wine, snorkel equipment and pickup from our hotel (baby was free).

5. Avoid Tourist Traps

Santorini gets busy, and in order to see the famous sunset at the Castle of Oia, you need to arrive early and stake out a spot. We did so and enjoyed watching it, but if it was high season, we would have struggled with the crowds. There are many alternative spots to catch the sunset such as Santo Winery or from the water on a sunset cruise. Our previously mentioned hotel balcony also served this purpose quite well.

The famous crowds at a sunset in Oia.

On another day, we took the cable car down the caldera near the ferries and then spotted a sign for a donkey taxi for 5 euros ($6) to go back up the famous 588 steps of the old Karavolades stairs. I took 10 euros ($11) out of my bag and soon we were separated — my husband and son were on a donkey climbing the side of the caldera while I was still at the bottom waiting for the next group.

The donkeys couldn’t stop as they were in a pack together. I feared the whole time that my husband and baby were going to tumble off the side of the caldera as I watched them from behind. We made it to the top and vowed to avoid animals as transportation in the future.

Bottom Line

When choosing a destination to travel to with your baby or toddler, the Greek Islands are a great choice. Once you’ve survived the flight, you may as well be somewhere breathtaking. Your honeymoon isn’t your only chance to relax and take in a location like Santorini, so pack your baby or toddler along with your sunscreen.

Would you bring your baby or toddler to stair-laden Santorini? Have you been?

Is your family heading to Greece soon? Here are some other articles you may be interested in:

Featured image courtesy of author

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.